Designers and original makers are dying out. We are going extinct and being replaced with big machinery and cheap overseas labour. Not only that whenever we make something that is authentic it is copied. That I don’t mind. I just want to let people know that working with our hands and a sewing machine is an art form and the fact that you meet someone who can sketch an image, draw their own pattern, cut and sew from start to finish is rare nowadays and I’m amongst the youngest in this field in Australia that can make anything from the beginning.
When you look at a dress in a retail store that costs $350 it has went through so many hands for each piece and the fabric sourced all over the world but made in less than an hour. When an authentic creative makes you something for $350 +++ it would of taken many more hours or days to produce. The sewing of retail clothing is hardly done in Australia nowadays and is mostly done in India, Bali, China, Phillipines, Turkey etc where the dollar is cheaper. I don’t mind that but do not compare an authentic designer or creative who makes one off designs or capsule collections to the mass produced market or to something you buy from the retail store.
For 19 + years I have been slowly learning my craft. Just bits a pieces here and there picking up every piece of knowledge that I can from people, from books and just generally learning as much as I can of anything at all that I can apply to my field. It is my obsession and my dream. I am young to be running my own business as a Designer Dressmaker but I created my job because I saw a need in the market. Plus until I started calling myself The Designer Dressmaker nobody else had put those words together. The decline of dressmaking and especially dressmakers that make their own patterns is obvious in Australia adding further value to what is left. We are a dime a dozen. Help contribute to Australian dressmakers or local dressmakers if you aren’t Australian because otherwise we may just die out and who shall you buy an authentic designer dress from.
I’m going to rock this year. You should too. 🤘🏻
So I’m sharing a huge secret with you all. My biggest group of clientele are bridesmaids who have had dresses bought for them online.
With online dresses I have noticed a certain pattern of faults in fitting and design that I would like to share.
Firstly when you look at the bra cup shape it is all kinds of wrong. I mean who really wants their boobs to be cupped by padding that looks like a discus rather than the more conventional balconette cup.
Secondly the dress is always either too small or too big. This means huge alterations if your dress is too big and even if it is too small where we might even have to add a panel or let the dress out. Better the dress is too big than too small none the less.
Thirdly the straps are always an odd length meaning you have to get them taken in or let out.
Fourth if there is any beading or fancy techniques you have admired in the design they usually are falling off by the time they reach Australia.
Fifth the hem always has to be altered
Sixth the style may not even sit right because the shape is all wrong and if it does sit right then the style may still be wrong.
Bridesmaid dresses are the things best made by local dressmakers but you have to make sure you can trust your dressmaker before you let them take on your work.
The other thing is you must make sure that the dressmaker has some form of qualification or learnt knowledge. Do not trust any person who thinks that sewing a quilt together or a cushion qualifies them to make bridesmaid dresses. God forbid you let them make your wedding dress. Ask to look at prior examples of their work before investing yourself financially in their business and wasting valuable time.
So I didn’t realise how hard building a website is and starting a business until I bought my go daddy domain 4 years ago. Here’s how I did it. First off I used my domain and my friend attached it to my blog until I could figure out how to build the website. Now the best part of Wix is how easy it is to build the website with them. You don’t need to know how to speak the language of html which I still can’t speak either. You just need your photos and the ability to upgrade your account $$$. The wix website editor allows you to add pages and buttons as well as background images. Portfolio pages and even a shopping cart. The thing that is off putting is the cost. A website is something I wasn’t willing to invest in until I was sure I was ready. Since I bought my domain four years ago I’ve completed a diploma in fashion design courses in marketing and management as well as admin inc book keeping. The list goes on. I’ve also worked as an intern for Suboo resort wear. Had some work experience working for we are handsome swimsuits resort wear as well as Jenny rose fashion leather textile designer. I’ve worked for a famous shoe designer in Sydney years ago Donna may Bolinger. I’ve seen the back entrance and the front entrance of fashion. I might not like the social and ecological effects it has on our society but I just want to make clothes and share them with people. I want to make changes in this world. I don’t want to leave a heavy foot print. I want to find a better way to make fashion environmentally friendly and I want to build my own factory overseas with a crèche with training and proper pay. I’ve worked for nothing and worked for something. I’ve been a pieceworker and a dressmaker. I’ve made custom designer outfits I’ve designed and I’ve had to pattern make copies of pictures for clients. I’ve been an advisor for new fashion labels who have no training and I’ve been advised by my mentors. Now amongst working permanent part time as a blood collector and running my business as a pieceworker and custom designer dressmaker. Everything I’ve ever done has been directed to this moment and I feel on top of the world. I might not of been an overnight success but even I realised if you start building something now it will eventually become a success. If you share the passion you have for your dreams with people they will eventually become addicted to your energy. If you fail get back up on that horse. Don’t ever give in. Don’t ever let your fears get the better of you. Be brave. Be humble. Be beautiful. Stress does funny things to people but If you don’t let it get to you then you will succeed. Eventually. Take every single lead that comes your way. The people who fail are the people who don’t try, who give up and forget their dreams. I’m ready and I’ve just launched my website http://www.secretcultureshop.com
If you like what you see please follow my blog, like my facebook link on the right hand side or follow me on Instagram #secretculture or Twitter Ashleighreneepatel.
Don’t forget to live, love and be beautiful;) xx Secret Culture living the dream
So with the excitement of Valentines Day sweet hearts ordering flowers everywhere across the country. I am here to bring you a story about Wallsend NSW Australia!!!!
Just 16 weeks old and we now have the very first Valentines day for Everything Floral!!!! Not the first Valentines day though for owner & head florist Alyn-Jai Miranda who has been in the industry for over 20 years with more experience in design and floristry than most people have in their right pinkie.
What I love is that Alyn-Jai Miranda came to me and asked for me to put one of my dresses in his store for the Valentines day week. I haven’t ever shared this dress with the world but it was one that I completed for my red carpet assessment in Tighes Hill Tafe. I have of of course added some finishing touches such as the pearls on the shoulder and the draping diamanté back band and Now the day before Valentines day I would love to share some pictures of my dress in the front window display at Everything Floral!!!
If you like what you see Secret Culture is a label by local Newcastle designer Ashleigh Renee Patel. We do custom designs to suit any occasion and have one-off designs available in our eBay store
You can also follow the Secret Culture Facebook page to find out what custom designs Secret Culture is creating!!! Find the link on the side of this web page or type Secret Culture into Facebook.
Everything Floral is a local Newcastle business that will accommodate the needs of all people. They can be followed on their Everything Floral Facebook page. Whether you are looking for wedding floristry with flair or a casual bunch of blue roses, no budget is too big or too small. You can contact the Everything Floral Florist on 49517024 weekdays 9am- 6pm
This is a photo of one of the pencil skirts from my Autumn/ Winter Collection. This one I am in the middle of making for myself and from random fabric that I found in my treasure box.
My first eco-friendly designer dress
This was my first environmentally friendly design originally inspired by Australian textile artist Jennifer Hawkins who at the time in 2007 was creating patchwork quilts and wall hangings from tea bags. I started the teabag dress as a major project for my HSC textiles. It is still a working piece that I draw inspiration from as I still don’t think it is quite finished. I have quilted more than 2000 Lipton teabags, machine felted, hand embroidered and embellished. I have painted and now am in the stages of refitting the dress to a stock size 10. This is my side project that I love so dearly.
There are a few interesting people making teabag textiles and art around the world.
“Original T-Bag Designs, a collective of artists residing in South Africa. These artists transform recycled tea bags into a variety of beautiful items, including works of art, household objects, jewelry, stationery, and clothes. For many of the artists, their tea-bag creations have freed them from a life of poverty.”
Continue reading on Examiner.com: Recycle those tea bags and make room for loose leaf tea – Los Angeles LA | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/la-in-los-angeles/recycle-those-tea-bags-and-make-room-for-loose-leaf-tea#ixzz1MD13qoJK
The links to view their website don’t seem to work for me so I’m not entirely sure the article is relevant or not although it does reference my dress backdated to the 31st of March 2009.So time has moved on a bit.There is another reference at the Chinese Tea Shop Blog:
A couple of earlier blogs also reference my tea bag dress amongst other tea related articles. I found dyeing with tea an interesting idea for the future.
I really love the coffee and tea festival newsletter. It has really opened my eyes to the world of tea infused foods and painting with coffee. Check out the Mona Latte!
I find the idea of this design scourer very interesting although not especially related to my tea bag dress.I admire her close and personal , customer service orientated business and hope that my business will grow in the same general direction into the future.